Equipment exporter top of the heap

The Prime Minister's Australian Exporter of the Year, Dr John Russell, from Russell Mineral Equipment (RME), has joined two other leading manufacturers at the Export Breakfast Panel.

The Prime Minister’s Australian Exporter of the Year, Dr John Russell, from Russell Mineral Equipment (RME), has joined two other leading manufacturers at the Export Breakfast Panel, Financing exporting success in good times and bad, held recently in Sydney.

Other exporters on the panel included Chris Vonwiller from Appen, a three time Award winner, and Doug Austin, from Divex Pacific, winner of the Small to Medium Manufacturer Award.

Opening the event, the Hon. Anthony Byrne MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, said it was a great honour to meet with such distinguished and successful exporters.

“We are amongst the leading innovators in the world in the work that we do. And it is time this country understood this,” he said.

“We’ve got to acknowledge the resilience and the strength, the innovation and the durability of our export companies in these very difficult times.

“We make much in Australia of what happens with our sporting champions — and so we should. But, given the contribution that our exporters make in terms of the national interest, we’ve got to give them appropriate recognition, and the Australian Export Awards do that.”

Also on the panel were representatives from the event’s two sponsors, Michael Reidy from the Commonwealth Bank and Andrea Govaert from the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

The panel discussed the difficulties and challenges of exporting in the current financial climate, but also focused on the positives.

Speaking about the rewards of exporting, Dr John Russell said one of the most interesting aspects was learning the cultures of each market.

But Dr Russell also spoke of the benefits of embracing risk.

“The entrepreneurial flare is a constant tension. You accommodate an exposure to risk more when you are a small company. You can know too much and get swamped by it,” he said.

A mining industry technology company, RME’s key achievement has been the development of a globally recognised suite of grinding mill relining technologies which have revolutionised plant efficiencies at hard-rock, metaliferrous mines throughout the world.

The 2008 Australian Export Awards ‘Large Advanced Manufacturer’ category was open to all exporters in Australia who generate more than $30 million in export revenue, and was contested by a number of high profile and successful firms.

RME has grown 500% in five years and, in 2009, will reach estimated sales of $50 million, 80% of which are export sales.

Worldwide, the company employs almost 200 staff, most of whom are is based in Toowoomba, Queensland.

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